The New Laptops

first_img Laptop computer screens that flip around to become tablet PCs could be an increasingly common sight near future. Convertibles, as they are called, are the newest and hottest – but not the only – offering in the increasingly diverse laptop market.A convertible is more than just a laptop with a swiveling screen. The screen also accepts input from a pen just like a PDA – Personal Digital Assistant – or dedicated tablet PC.Convertibles have given laptops a dual personality – use it normally or flip the screen around and snap it down on top of the keyboard to make a full-fledged table PC. Another cool feature: if you’re trying to show somebody what’s on the screen, you simply swivel it towards them – great for presentations. With all these cool features, why doesn’t everyone own a convertible? Price mostly – they can cost several hundred dollars more than a standard laptop. Experts predict this will change as more people buy them – economy of scale. On top of that, laptop prices have literally crashed in the last 5 years making them affordable replacements for desktops.Slate-style tablet laptops – the screen is fixed on top of the unit – are less popular, but widely praised by a select group of die hard scribblers. These units are akin to a PDA, only larger – the dimensions of a standard pad letter-sized of paper – and work in much the same manner. Table PCs have been around for about 15 years, but sales have always been just a few percent of the total laptop market. To type, you need an external keyboard. Most people prefer typing to writing and – even today – handwriting recognition software leaves something to be desired. Most require a new writing style or a “learning” process. Unlike underpowered PDAs, tablet PCs are full-fledged computers capable of running any Windows program. They also cost several hundred dollars less than convertibles and have been on the market longer. Lack of a swiveling screen makes them more robust and lighter, as well, according to proponents.Another segment in growth is that of the ruggedized laptops. They are attractive to anybody who’s ever dropped or banged an expensive laptop causing permanent damage. Ouch, and get out that wallet: just the screen alone could cost $1000 to replace. Explore further Full sized tablet PC – Motion Computing LE1600 8.5” x 11”, 3.13 lbs. Multi-mobile (M2) computing system makes Android, iOS apps sharable on multiple devices Terralogic Toughnote Series 3. It’s not your parent’s laptop: new models offer a wide range of different configurations for every need and taste.center_img Citation: The New Laptops (2006, January 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2006-01-laptops.html Rugged models tend to run a couple pounds heavier than normal laptops, but you can leave that protective carrying case at home. They resist shocks, water and dust and offer all the features a normal user would need. In fact, they are practically indestructible: Depending on the make & model, think 30 minutes of heavy rain, 40,000 feet of altitude, 40G shocks, dust storms, saltwater mist, 70 degrees centigrade, 95% condensing humidity and enough vibration to shake a truck apart. They even have nuclear battlefield models for the military designed to withstand the EMP – ElectroMagnetic Pulse – created by nuclear explosions. This pulse destroys unprotected electronics. IBM ThinkPad X41 Tablet – a popular, light (3.5 lbs.) 12″ convertible. The SUV of notebooks is as heavy in the hands as on your pocketbook, however – models start around $3,000. Also, you should be prepared to accept last year’s technology at least – many still come standard with Pentium III processors and Windows 98SE.Manufacturing prices are dropping, however, and shipments of convertible, ruggedized and slate PCs may hit over 9 million units by 2008. That’s up 700 percent from the 1.2 million units expected to ship this year, according to a forecast by market researchers. Convertible notebooks are expected to make up the majority of those shipments. The projected number of convertibles and tablets is small compared with the overall number of notebooks – 62.5 million notebooks ship yearly, a number that is forecast by market analysts IDC to climb to 100.3 million in 2008. Microsoft, a major backer of tablets, is making the rounds with educators and developers to promote the benefits of tablet-based computing. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 is currently available with the purchase of a tablet-style PC. Users can also get free upgrades at the Microsoft’s web site. The next Tablet OS version is slated to be part of the upcoming Windows Vista Home Premium Edition. The Premium version, which is based on Vista Home Basic, is similar to the Windows XP Media Center Edition (XP MCE) but adds features designed for tablet PCs such as improved handwriting recognition and ability to use a tablet’s stylus to pan through documents.Only time will tell if these new laptops will flourish like wireless networking or fade away like floppy disks. But in an increasingly tight high-tech market were margins are low and profits are down, expect PC makers to pull out all the stops. They will introduce new and interesting additions to their offerings in a bid to rise above the competition. Who knows? Maybe one day we will all own a rugged, convertible notebook.Before tossing your desktop to get a sexy, new convertible, remember: you will have to make some sacrifices: Greater expense, shorter useful life – the technology tends to be several months behind the most advanced desktops, virtually no upgrade path apart from more memory and lower overall performance – especially when it comes to games.But, hey, everyone loves a convertible, right?By Philip Dunn, Copyright 2006 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Google relents—adds system password prompt before displaying web passwords

first_img Explore further Citation: Google relents—adds system password prompt before displaying web passwords (2013, November 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-11-google-relentsadds-password-prompt-web.html Now it appears that Google has had a change of heart, at least as it applies to Mac users—Chromium developer François Beaufort has announced on his Google+ page that Google has implemented a “fix” for the problem for users of the Chromium Build for Mac. Now, if a sneaky person gains physical access to someone else’s computer and tries to get the browser to show all of the saved passwords, they will be prompted to first type in the Mac OS password. Of course, that still won’t stop them from visiting and logging in automatically (because the passwords have still been saved after all) to whatever web sites they find in the list of favorites, their history, etc.It’s not clear why Google had a change of heart, or if the change will be made to Google Chrome (Windows) or if it will, how long that might take. Last summer, company reps said making such a change to Chrome would give users a false sense of security. They suggested that users lock their computer when away from the keyboard to give themselves a true security system.It’s clear that forcing users to type in a system password will prevent miscreants from quickly printing out a list of logins/passwords—whether it will also lull them into a false of security remains to be seen—at least for Mac users. Software developer questions why Google Chrome allows for display of saved passwords in plain text © 2013 Phys.org (Phys.org) —This past summer it was widely reported that Google Chrome had a web security flaw—all of the passwords that were saved for various web sites could be displayed by anyone gaining physical access to a computer, by typing in a simple command. That prompted a lot of people to criticize Google for its lackadaisical approach to web security for its user community. Google defended itself by noting that if someone gained physical access to someone else’s computer and were able to use their Chrome browser, they would be able to access all of the web sites that the original owner had saved anyway (because the login and passwords would be filled in automatically), regardless of whether they could see the passwords, which were stored on the local hard drive in plain text. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Study suggests black hole jets get their power from spin

first_img Journal information: Nature This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: The power of relativistic jets is larger than the luminosity of their accretion disks, Nature 515, 376–378 (20 November 2014) DOI: 10.1038/nature13856AbstractTheoretical models for the production of relativistic jets from active galactic nuclei predict that jet power arises from the spin and mass of the central supermassive black hole, as well as from the magnetic field near the event horizon. The physical mechanism underlying the contribution from the magnetic field is the torque exerted on the rotating black hole by the field amplified by the accreting material. If the squared magnetic field is proportional to the accretion rate, then there will be a correlation between jet power and accretion luminosity. There is evidence for such a correlation, but inadequate knowledge of the accretion luminosity of the limited and inhomogeneous samples used prevented a firm conclusion. Here we report an analysis of archival observations of a sample of blazars (quasars whose jets point towards Earth) that overcomes previous limitations. We find a clear correlation between jet power, as measured through the γ-ray luminosity, and accretion luminosity, as measured by the broad emission lines, with the jet power dominating the disk luminosity, in agreement with numerical simulations9. This implies that the magnetic field threading the black hole horizon reaches the maximum value sustainable by the accreting matter. This artist’s concept depicts a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. The blue color here represents radiation pouring out from material very close to the black hole. The grayish structure surrounding the black hole, called a torus, is made up of gas and dust. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Scientists know that some supermassive black holes, the kind that typically exist at the center of galaxies, shoot out particles at near the speed of light in a constant stream (aka as jets)—such black holes have accretion disks and because the black hole spins, the jets as viewed from Earth tend to blink—they are generically known as quasars (or blazars if their jets are aligned with us.) What’s not been clear is where the energy comes from to support such jets. The general theory is that it most likely comes from the gravitational effect of material in an accretion disk being pulled in. But calculations have suggested that might not be enough to account for the amount of energy needed to produce the jets. In this new effort, the researchers looked at data from NASA’s telescope to see if more information could be found to better explain the true source.The team looked specifically at two types of data. The first was measurements of gamma rays, which showed how bright the jets were. The second was optical observations that showed how luminous the accretion disks were. Plotting them together showed a clear correlation between the two, the team reports, noting that the brighter the disks were, the stronger the jets were. But, the data also showed that the jets were producing more energy than could be accounted for by the accretion disks, which indicates that some other energy source must be involved. That source, the team suggests, is most likely energy from the spinning of the black hole itself.Unfortunately, it’s not yet possible to measure the spin of supermassive black holes, which would add another factor to the equation and perhaps answer the question of where the jets get their energy once and for all. But that should change in 2028 when a European project, the Athena x-ray observatory goes aloft. Explore furthercenter_img (Phys.org) —A team of space scientists working in Italy has found more evidence that suggests the energy needed to emit jets from supermassive black holes comes from the spin of the black hole itself. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes how their survey of data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope allowed for comparing two types of emissions from the black holes, which showed a correlation. © 2014 Phys.org Computer model shows strong magnetic fields may alter alignment of black hole accretion disks and plasma jets Citation: Study suggests black hole jets get their power from spin (2014, November 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-11-black-hole-jets-power.htmllast_img read more

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Researchers find sand flies prefer marijuana plants

first_img © 2018 Science X Network An international team of researchers has found that sand flies have a strong preference for Cannabis sativa plants over all other plant choices. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes capturing sand flies from five sites around the globe, studying the contents of their guts using DNA analysis, and what they found. Citation: Researchers find sand flies prefer marijuana plants (2018, October 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-sand-flies-marijuana.html Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Anyone who has visited the beach knows about sand flies. They land on humans and bite to feed on their blood. In addition to the annoyance they cause, sandflies also transmit diseases such as leishmaniasis, bartonellosis and some arboviral types. For that reason, the researchers wondered what they ate, hoping to find a means of attracting and killing them.To learn more about what sand flies eat, the researchers captured specimens in Brazil, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Israel and Palestine. They removed the gut contents from each specimen and subjected them to DNA analysis to determine which plants it had come from.In looking at the plant types that the flies ate from, the researchers found that Cannabis sativa was the most popular—they found it in flies from four out of the five locations studied. This was intriguing because marijuana plants are extremely rare in three out of those four regions due to its cultivation and illegality. The researchers suggest this indicates the sand flies have a particularly strong affinity for the plants—so much so that they actively seek them out. The researchers were not able to explain why the sand flies found Cannabis sativa so enticing, though they point out it was not to get high—they lack the necessary cannabinoid receptors for that. They point out that Cannabis sativa, like the other plants the flies feed on, provide plant sugars as a food source. Sand flies only go for blood when they are incubating their young. But the knowledge that they strongly prefer marijuana plants suggests a possible way to control them. Extracts or oils that smell like cannabinoids could perhaps be used to bait traps.center_img A light trap suspended from wall, Camacari, Bahia, Brazil. Credit: Alon Warburg More information: Ibrahim Abbasi et al. Plant-feeding phlebotomine sand flies, vectors of leishmaniasis, prefer Cannabis sativa, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1810435115 Video: How to catch fruit flies A house and yard in a village near Sheraro, Ethiopia. Credit: Alon Warburg This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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200 not done

first_imgIt is a truth universally acknowledged that the life of an author is in her creations. And personal preferences of readers aside, if there is one book that one identifies Jane Austen with, from among the many wonderful ones she has written, it has to be Pride and Prejudice. Published in 1813, the Elizabeth-Darcy romance celebrates 200 years of its life this year, and if the many articles that are being written to mark the occasion is any proof, their popularity today is no less than when the book was published. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’What one is unsure of though, is whether Austen, an open critique of the stereotypes society expected men, and more importantly women, to confirm to, would approve of the book surviving as an epic romance.Two hundred years after Austen’s signature piece was published, the one element or character that overshadows the rest of Pride and Prejudice, is Darcy and his relationship with the book’s female protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett. Reams have been written analysing taciturn Darcy’s charm for women. He is proud and perverse, brash and opinionated, critical even of the one he loves, difficult to please and reluctant to praise, and yet women over generations have loved and idolised him. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixPoor Elizabeth has not been so lucky with the men. She is too independent and proud a heroine, with no frivolous failing, coy art, or weakness to soften her cool good sense, to fan undying passion in the men. Few indeed are the Darcies among the book’s male readers, who would go beyond her ‘just tolerable’ first appearance to appreciate the ‘intelligent’ eyes and their expressions. Or is it that there are just few men who would read Jane Austen’s magnum opus unless they are not forced to, because it is part of their syllabus. Most men are disdainful of the ‘chicklit romance-meets-feminist ideology’ as the book is referred to by many. My introduction to Pride and Prejudice happened in school, at an age when my friends were still finishing their Nancy Drews and graduating to their first Mills and Boon. Having never read a Mills and Boon, but having heard enough descriptions of ‘tall, dark and handsome’ M&B heroes who held my friends’ imaginations captive, I did the predictable and promptly fell in love with Darcy. He was better than any M&B hero (he had brains, wrote well, and read books, to give an intellectual edge to his smouldering good looks). It would be years before I reached college and as part of my literature course would read analyses of Darcy as the archetypical romance hero. It was also here that I would read Austen’s letters and essays that would give me a peek into the writer’s mind, and start seeing glimpses of her creator in Elizabeth. It was also here that I would be introduced to Pride and Prejudice as a social commentary and not just a great romance (or mother of all chicklits).For all Darcy’s faults, his relationship with Elizabeth is for Austen, the prototype of the perfect marriage, if there can be a perfect marriage. Proud and opinionated though they both are, Elizabeth and Darcy complement each other, correct each other and together form a unit that others look up to. Elizabeth’s sister Jane and Darcy’s friend Bingley come a close second, but they are both too easy going to be firm even when required, unlike Elizabeth and Darcy who blend a good heart and noble sentiments with cool good sense. Elizabeth’s youngest sister Lydia and Wickham’s marriage is, to put it lightly, rash, based on fleeting passion rather than real love or respect for their partner.Marriage was important in Austen’s world, especially for the women. Unmarried women were perceived to be a burden for the family, and the brother, who were forced to take care of them. There were a few unfortunate women, forced to work as governesses, but of course they lost all claims to social hierarchy when they those to work. And so, apart from the few, like Darcy’s cousin Anne, who had an independent income fixed on them by their fathers, marriage for girls like Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte, was the only respectable option and explains why a girl of Charlotte’s good sense marries Mr Collins, who no girl with an iota of self respect can be in love with. Unfortunately, a girl with little fortune also had little chance of attracting a wealthy or noble match, unless so great was her beauty and charm that her personal attractions could make up for the deficiencies of her birth. With marriage the prime objective for women from the time she turns 16, the vast majority, with neither great good looks, nor fortune or family name, could ill afford to be choosy when it came to their matrimonial partners.The term spinster, used for an unmarried woman, originated in the medieval era as spinning wool was one of the few means of livelihood available to a woman to live independently of male economic support. But for ever afterwards, the term has left a bitter aftertaste and is used to refer to a stereotype of an older woman who is unmarried, childless, prissy and repressed.Two hundred years after Pride and Prejudice was published, not much has changed in society. Women have become increasingly financially independent, but much as a girl hates to admit it, marriage remains, for the majority a social security that not many will find the courage to renounce. So much so, that a modern-day Collins with comfortable means, but little else to recommend him as a husband, is still too proud to imagine a woman capable of refusing him. Worse, he can rape her for refusing him. For a man, having a wife still means returning to a comfortable house, while for a woman marriage is an insurance from unwanted attention, uncomfortable questions about her sexual preferences or her attraction quotient for the men (think Bridget Jones or any Brinda, Bishakha or Bani closer home).Perhaps, herein lies Darcy’s enduring popularity. For if marriage is a necessary evil for women, Darcy holds out the promise of romance and respect that can make it a rewarding experience. Of course, things might have been different, if Austen had cared to pen a sequel focussing on Elizabeth and Darcy’s life as a married couple.last_img read more

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Of social issues and the stage

first_imgSandhya Chhaya, as the name signifies, is about the shadow which is cast upon the  evening or the final lap of the life of an elderly lonely couple who endlessly wait for their children to come and wipe away the loneliness hounding the husband-wife.  Through this play a conscious effort has been made to convey a message for youth as well as the senior generation that, first – do not neglect senior citizens. They are a mirror images of one’s old age. Secondly, do not depend on your children for your share of happiness. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ Create your own independent world where dependency on the younger generation for company does not exist. If the senior citizens do not do so then sadly their end might be similar to that of the protagonist couple in the play. The play showcases the relentless efforts of a couple to find company; be it through a wrong number or a servant or even a passerby who mistakenly knocks at their door. Such is the desperation.A few other social issues have also been taken care of through Sandhya Chhaya, such as growing discontentment among the youth against the country’s corrupt and immoral conscience. As a result the youth is losing confidence and not willing to settle in India if given an opportunity.WHERE: India Habitat Centre WHEN: 1 and 2 June, 7:30 pmlast_img read more

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Resist fast food cravings with a game

first_imgThe game is designed to improve a person’s “inhibitory control,” the part of the brain that stops you from giving into unhealthy cravings – even when the smell of French fries is practically begging you to step inside a fast food restaurant.The mobile app intelligently detects patterns in a person’s eating habits. When users are likely to slip from their dietary plans, the app provides tailored strategies to put them back on track.“Millions of people are trying to lose weight, and they are going about it in a reasonable way – by trying to reduce calories. But you’re going to slip from your diet plan. That pretty much happens to everyone,” said Evan Forman, Professor of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“You could say the secret of helping people actually lose weight is preventing these lapses, so we concentrated on how to best do that,” Forman noted.In a study, published in the journal Appetite, Forman and a team of researchers tested the theory that that if you do certain tasks that involve inhibitory control over and over again, it actually gets stronger.Habitual snack food eaters were assigned to one of four short, training exercises designed to increase their mindful decision-making and strengthen their inhibitory control. The study concluded that both types of training were successful in reducing snack food eating.The researchers are now seeking participants for two studies to test whether playing the computer game and the mobile app can strengthen inhibitory control of the participants and help them stick to their diet plan, a university statement said.last_img read more

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Tyangra stabbing case One local miscreant held

first_imgKolkata: Police have arrested a person for allegedly having a connection with the incident of stabbing one Tarak Mondal, alias Khatal Tarak, at Tyangra on Monday morning.Sources informed that the person arrested identified as Bulu Maity is a local and was present there when Mondal was attacked. Mondal was called by Maity and others when he was home. When he answered from inside, some of them dragged him out of his house and an altercation took place between them. All of a sudden, Maity and others started beating up Mondal. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThough Maity refused to admit that he was present there at that point of time, the sleuths have found clues which proved that Maity was. Later, they dragged Mondal to a distance and stabbed him multiple times and fled. Mondal’s family alleged that all the accused persons were locals and identified them as well. It is suspected that Mondal might have known something about the miscreants that seemed to have to put them in a dangerous position. To suppress the fact, Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedthey killed Mondal. The sleuths are trying to know about other accused by interrogating Maity. The installed CCTVs are being checked and mobile phone tower location is being monitored to trace them. Police have also found that the accused persons have criminal history. Several complaints are being found against them. Locals alleged that recently Mondal gained popularity in the area for which the accused were not happy. Locals assume that to dominate the locality accused persons killed Mondal to make their way clear.last_img read more

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IISWBM alumni demands alma mater get university status soon

first_imgKolkata: In a bid to fast track the process of granting deemed university status to the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM), the alma mater alumni of the country’s oldest B-school has decided to take up the matter with the state government.IISWBM senior faculty and key alumni member Jhumoor Biswas said: “Getting the deemed university status will help the IISWBM acquire adequate central funds to carry on research on globally important disciplines in which our researchers have been undertaking important works throughout the past decades.” Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”State Education minister Partha Chatterjee had announced that the institute will get deemed university status but a Bill in this regard has not been passed yet in the state Assembly. We will urge Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to look into this. The status will help the institute carry on research activities in different streams like environment management, energy and healthcare, solid waste management etc,” said Koushik Pal, a member of the alumni association of the IISWBM on the sidelines of a press meet in the city. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseIt may be mentioned that Chatterjee himself is the president of the Board of Governors of IISWBM that was set up by the Calcutta University Senate together with the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and the then Bengal Chief Minister Bidhan Chandra Roy and Dijendra Kumar Sanyal in 1953. The IISWBM is the first business school not just in India but in South-East Asia. “If this becomes a management university, then several management schools and institutes scattered all over the state will come under our aegis,” another alumni member pointed out. They feel that the deemed university status will enable its brightest students and alumni alike to do research on globally important disciplines like transportation and logistics management, supply chain management, environment management etc. IISWBM will be holding its sixth annual alumni and corporate fest “Fiera Fiesta” on February 1 and 2.last_img read more

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Sunday Art Haat A step to promote budding artists

first_imgArt is much more than just a medium of creative expressions. To be commercial is a call of the moment for artists or else wise they would be left alone. The growing number of art auction houses like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Saffron Art etc. is a proof how essential it has become for artists to be self-marketer in order to survive in the art field. And our country is not an exception in this.But the irony is that in our country where there are hundreds of art institutes, art schools and art galleries, we can count the galleries/institutions on our fingers that come forward to represent fresh graduates from such art institutions. And if few of them get a gallery as their representative, they have to pay its price in the form of commissions. So where should they go? To answer this very question, the Lalit Kala Akademi has initiated a concept called ‘Sunday Art Haat’, where there will be a direct interaction between artists and buyers without any mediation. While inaugurating ‘Sunday Art Haat’, the administrator of Lalit Kala Akademi, C S Krishna Setty said, “It is our endeavour to help and support young and budding talent, especially those artists who are struggling to find a gallery or don’t necessarily have a big body of work ready for an exhibition yet. The scene completely differs in the West. People of cities like Paris, London, New York etc. are well versed about the places where they would find affordable artworks. ‘Sunday Art Haat’ is an initiative in that very direction. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfCurrently, we are providing spaces to artists at very nominal costs but the Akademi is planning to make it free for them in upcoming time.” Mentioning about a plan of building a permanent space for the event, Setty said, “For the buyers, it will give them an opportunity to acquire art at affordable prices without gallery commissions and such deterrents”.Vishalakshi Nigam, Secretary in charge, Lalit Kala Akademi; Bhisham Mirani, Garhi centre in charge; participating artists like Rajesh Srivastava, Rituparna Chopra, Kumud Mohinder, Rekha Kapur etc., apart from art collectors and buyers, attended the inauguration at the Regional Centre Garhi.last_img read more

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CEOs office seeks report from DM on detention of Abhisheks wife

first_imgKolkata: The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has sought a report from the District Magistrate of North 24-Parganas in connection with the detention of Rujira Banerjee, wife of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, at Kolkata Airport on the night of March 15.The Election Commission has asked for a report after it received several complaints in this regard. Abhishek Banerjee’s lawyer has also filed a complaint with the CEO’s office against BJP MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo, for making false statements regarding the issue on his Twitter handle. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataBanerjee’s lawyer had registered a complaint with the commission on Sunday, saying that fake news was being circulated in relation to the detention of his wife. Supriyo allegedly took to his Twitter account to train his gun on Banerjee. The commission is looking into the complaint. It may be mentioned that some leaders from other political parties have also lodged some complaints in this regard. The commission is verifying every single complaint registered with it in this regard from different corners. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateDuring a press conference on Sunday, Banerjee said that BJP, Congress and CPI(M) have picked up the issue only to gain some political mileage ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. He also maintained that the Opposition parties, including BJP, were targeting his wife after failing to fight his party Trinamool Congress politically. The commission has asked the DM to submit a detailed report on what happened during the entire stay of Rujira Banerjee at the airport. The commission would look into the allegations and the counter allegations in this incident. EC officials may also try to ascertain whether the Customs officials had detained her without any valid reason or if Bengal police had actually intervened on that day. It may be mentioned here that the commission has already served show-cause notices to BJP MP Supriyo for releasing his party’s theme song and TMC leader in Birbhum Anubrata Mondal.last_img read more

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Bengali actor Swarup Dutta passes away at 78

first_imgKolkata: Noted Bengali actor Swarup Dutta died in a city hospital on Wednesday morning.He was 78 years old and is survived by his wife and actor son Sharon. He was suffering from age-related ailments. Condoling Dutta’s death Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “Saddened by the death of Swarup Dutta who died in the city on Wednesday. He was 78 years old. He had acted in Bengali and Hindi films for three decades. His acting in Aaapanjan directed by Tapan Sinha in 1968 left a deep impact on the audience. His death will create an irreparable loss in Bengali film industry. My condolences to his relatives and admirers.” Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataDutta came in contact with Utpal Dutta during his school days. Inspired by him he acted in his troupe. His first break came in Tapan Sinha’s Aaapanjan (1968). The film was set against the political turmoil in Bengal in the 1960s.His co-actors in the film were Samjit Bhanja, Chaya Devi, Sumita Sanyal and Bhanu Bandyopadhyay. Based on Aapanjan , Gulzar directed his first film Mere Apne in 1971 starring Vinod Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha and Meena Kumari. He will be remembered for his roles in Sagina Mahato. Sagina Mahato was directed by Tapan Sinha starring Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu, Sumita Sanyal and Bhanu Bandyopadhyay. The story was based on a labour movement in the tea gardens in 1942-43. Dutta had acted in popular Bengali films like Harmonium, Pita Putra and Maa o Meye.last_img read more

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Dragon Lore Origins of the FireBreathing Beast

first_imgFrom ancient Greek myths to Game of Thrones, the legend of the dragon is one of the most enduring and romanticized throughout history. It has been traced back as far as 4000 BC and exists in all parts of the world. In and around Europe dragons are viewed mostly as monsters of evil intent. In ancient Rome, the army used dragons as symbols of strength.During the Renaissance, fear of sea monsters kept sailors from venturing too far from known waters, and the edges of their maps would read “Here be dragons.”Considered one of the great medieval world maps. Probably a copy of the map that adorned the bed chamber of King Henry III.The Oxford English Dictionary explains the etymology of the word dragon, which it says entered the English lexicon in around 1220 and was used in English versions of the Bible from the early 14th century.Dragon derives from Old French, the language used by nobles and law courts following the Norman conquest of 1066. This in turn stems from the Latin draconem or draco meaning “big serpent,” which was derived from ancient Greek δράκων (drakon).An early appearance of the Old English word dracan in Beowulf; a heroic poem of the 8th century,In Greek mythology, the Hesperian Dragon named Ladon was a hundred-headed serpent that guarded the golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides.Historically, European dragons were viewed as being evil, jealous, and greedy hoarders of treasure.Ancient Greek mosaic from Caulonia, Italy, depicting a cetus or sea-dragon.In the stories, they were generally treated as violent monsters who must be slain by heroes and saints. European dragons could have four legs, two legs, or none, and often had wings.Illustration of a winged, fire-breathing dragon by Friedrich Justin Bertuch from 1806.In Asia, and especially China, the view of these creatures was very different. Dragons were thought to live under the ocean in the winter, arising in the spring with a clap of thunder to bring the rain needed for their crops, according to the American Museum of Natural History.Carved imperial Chinese dragons at Nine-Dragon Wall, Beihai Park, Beijing. Photo by splitbrain CC BY-SA 2.0They breathed clouds and moved the seasons. The dragon was the symbol of the Chinese Emperor, and the Imperial throne was called the Dragon Throne. Known as the Dragon, the emperor ruled in harmony, and brought peace and prosperity to all.In Chinese history, the Dragon Throne of the Emperor of China (pictured here in the Palace of Heavenly Purity) was erected at the center of the Forbidden City, which was itself regarded as the center of the world.Chinese dragons are depicted as being more serpent-like, with long, snaking bodies and usually had four legs. They are generally seen as wingless.How people view them and what they believe about them varies widely, but the idea is too widespread not to think there are some common roots.Painting of a Japanese dragon by Hokusai (c. 1730 – 1849).What made people from cultures that may have never met all come up with the idea of dragons?There are several theories about what creatures could have been the source of the dragon myths, any or all of them may be true.Attic red-figure kylix painting from c. 480–470 BC showing Athena observing as the Colchian dragon disgorges the hero Jason.Ancient Origins discusses a number of potential roots. The first one is crocodiles. Saltwater and Nile crocodiles are the two largest living reptiles on earth today.Currently, saltwater crocodiles live in the eastern Indian Ocean region, and Nile crocs in the rivers, marshes, and lakes of Sub-Saharan Africa. But 1,000 years they had a much larger habitat range, and could have been encountered by people living in Greece, Spain, and Southern Italy.Bizarre Blue Dragon-Like Creatures Wash Up on Beach, Experts Warn Not to TouchNile crocodiles can grow to 20 feet in length, and have the ability to lift much of their bodies off the ground. This may be a hint about why European dragons are often described as rearing up.Young Nile Crocodile gaping while basking in the sun.Many archaeologists believe that ancient people envisioned dragons when they found the fossils of certain sorts of dinosaurs, specifically, the types that had very long necks.Having no explanation for the lengthy fossils, they would have imagined a beast that seemed to fit what they were seeing.A bone of the legendary Wawel Dragon (Smok Wawelski), outside Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, Poland. Photo by Yohan eunan CC BY SA 3.0There is evidence to suggest that there were discoveries of dinosaur fossils being uncovered in China as early as the 4th century BC. Fossils belonging to flying dinosaurs, such as pterodactyl or pteranodons, could very well be part of why some cultures envision dragons as having wings.Another, similar, theory is that people imagined dragons when the skeletons of whales washed on shore near early coastal dwellings.Because early people didn’t have suitable sailing and navigation technology, they would most likely only have seen the immense whales from a distance when the creatures were living.The Destruction of Leviathan (1865) by Gustave Doré.This could certainly be the root of sailor’s fear of “dragons” in the waters, as well as the ocean-dwelling Asian view. This could also be one of the reasons that some dragons are pictured as having wings.A medieval bestiary dated to around 1260 AD, contains the oldest recognizable image of a fully modern, western dragon.Snakes are also thought to be a basis for the dragon myth. Although even very large snakes are much smaller than dragons are said to be, humankind has a deeply embedded instinct to fear them.Illustration from an ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscript showing the god Set spearing the serpent Apep as he attacks the sun boat of Ra.In ancient Egypt, for example, Apep was a deity known as the Serpent of the Nile. He was viewed as the lord of Chaos, and opposed to light and truth.Read another story from us: The bizarre story of the dragon’s rib in the cathedral of AtessaEach of these theories show some echo of what we think about when we think of dragons. All of them together show a more complete picture of the huge beasts that feature in so many stories and myths.last_img read more

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The Real Story of the Haunted Doll which Inspired a Horror Franchise

first_imgAnyone watching the Child’s Play films from the 1980s might find themselves laughing at the dated special effects and the amusing idea that a harmless kid’s toy could wreak such havoc. For those who’ve come across Robert the Doll, the idea of a haunted toy is not so amusing.Robert was a toy owned by Robert Eugene Otto. The doll’s beginnings are uncertain, though some say that he was a gift from a maidservant in the Otto household. She had suffered some unknown wrongdoing at the hands of the family, and she cursed a doll using voodoo before presenting it to the young boy.Actress Catherine Hicks and child actor Alex Vincent with Chucky in a scene from the film ‘Child’s Play’ (1988). Photo by United Artists/Getty ImagesHowever, another version is that the doll was a present from Otto’s grandfather in 1904. Since the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida has managed to trace the doll’s manufacture back to the Steiff company in Germany, this seems the more likely story.Whatever his origin, Robert became a firm favorite of Otto’s. Because Otto was known by his middle name of “Eugene,” he decided to call his new toy Robert. The doll even had a place at the dinner table with the family.Robert the Doll. Photo by Cayobo CC BY 2.0Otto’s association with his doll has been described as “unhealthy” by some, including Cori Convertitio, the curator of the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, where Robert the Doll now resides.Cori went on to say: “He brought the doll everywhere, he talked about it in the first person as if he weren’t a doll, he was Robert. As if he is a live entity.”The stories go that as well as treating Robert like a real person, Otto began to blame accidents on the doll as well. At first, that was just dismissed as childish games, but then stranger things started to happen.Child actor with Chucky in a scene from the film ‘Child’s Play’ (1988). Photo by United Artists/Getty ImagesPeople reported hearing Otto talk to the doll and then a completely different voice answer back. Neighbors and friends related how Robert would blink, laugh, and walk around the house when the Otto family were out.When he grew up, Otto moved into what he called “The Artist House.” Robert went with him.At the insistence of Otto’s wife, the doll was kept in a turret room. However, people reported hearing footsteps above them when they were in the room below. Those who ventured into Robert’s room heard giggling or claimed the doll moved.Robert the Doll on display at Fort East Martello Museum, Key West, Florida. Photo by Cayobo CC BY 2.0Occasionally, Robert could be seen in an upstairs window, and passing schoolchildren swore that he would disappear and reappear, or change which side of the window he was sitting on.Otto and his wife died in the 1970s. Myrtle Reuter bought The Artist House, which came with Robert. Visitors to her new home reported hearing footsteps and giggles. Some even said that Robert’s expression changed if anyone in the room bad-mouthed Otto.Her daughter, in particular, was terrorized by Robert, claiming that the doll tried to attack her several times.Robert the Doll by RICKFRIKY CC BY 2.0In 1994, Reuter decided enough was enough and donated him to the museum.But Robert’s antics haven’t stopped there. He has received around one thousand letters from museum visitors who have suffered accidents or mishaps after visiting. They apologize for disrespecting or upsetting him. Some people even send him boxes of candy.Chucky. Photo by Luis Villa del Campo CC By 2.0At the museum, Robert is kept in a glass case where he has been provided with his own toy to cuddle. He’s taken out once a year to check for any sign of deterioration but has traveled a convention in 2008 and to Las Vegas in 2015.Robert is such a famous figure that he has his own Twitter and Facebook page. When he receives letters from children, Convertito tries to respond to them: “Gene always had that childlike temperament around him and we feel like Robert would want to be kind to children.”As well as inspiring the Child’s Play franchise, Robert also had a film devoted to him called Robert (2015). This spawned three sequels: The Curse of Robert the Doll (2016), The Toymaker (2017), and The Revenge of Robert the Doll (2018).Read another story from us: History’s First Talking Doll – The Creepy Voice that Terrified ChildrenOtto might have gone on to become an eccentric artist, but his doll gained its own notoriety too. It is only the very bravest visitor to the Fort East Martello Museum that will dare to disrespect Robert the doll or his previous master.last_img read more

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Oldest Known Burial Site in Central America Reveals Mysteriously Muscular Woman

first_imgA recent archaeological dig has revealed the almost six-millennia-old remains of a woman who lived in present-day Nicaragua. This is so far the oldest human burial site found in wider region, scientists said. Finding burial sites as ancient as this one is rare for tropical regions. The hot, humid environment hastens decomposition of organic mater — not good conditions for the preservation of ancient human remains.The body was protected by a shell mound, a layer of various shells the function of which, experts say, was to mark her burial site. This might have been a normal funerary proceeding of the indigenous, fishing population that once lived in the region.Hilltop in Nicaragua.The woman was laid to rest some 7.5 feet below the surface in a hollow, oval-shaped pit. Her arms, which would have been incredibly muscular around the forearm, were positioned on the sides by her body, and her legs were found bent against the stomach.When her tomb was reopened, there was no obvious evidence of how the woman died. The research team presented their findings in the journal Antiquity in December 2018.The team stumbled upon the site by chance.The find took place at the Angi shell-matrix site, which, as the study authors note, was “first excavated in the early 1970s” and which has now been “identified the first burial to be recorded on the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast.”“Although collagen preservation was insufficient for direct radiocarbon dating, samples obtained from surrounding deposits date the burial to c. 3900 BC. This represents both the earliest archaeological feature recorded to date on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and the oldest-known human remains from the region,” they state in the paper abstract.The lead expert of the study group, anthropologist Mirjana Roksandic from the Canadian-based University of Winnipeg, was initially focused on surveying sites in Cuba. Following a suggestion by a colleague, she and her team opted to survey the coastal village of Monkey Point in the south of Nicaragua.Archaeological excavation.Once her team came across the bones belonging to a human, they were quick to ask consent from the local Rama and Kirol communities to extend their work on site, Live Science reported.The woman was somewhere between 25 and 40 years of age when she died, although at first she was estimated to be much older due to the amount of wear to her teeth. The research group concluded that the woman’s seafood-based diet could have contributed to faster wearing of her teeth..The woman would have stood 4 feet and 11 inches in height, inconsistent with North American or Northern European standards, but matches “the standards of Central America or other Southern populations,” Roksandic told Live Science.Roksandic commented that the woman’s muscular forearms were “possibly from rowing or similar activities,” which might be another feature the individual shared with the local, modern-day population.As Roksandic told Live Science, during their research her team was introduced to an elderly woman who regularly spent four hours of her day rowing in order to visit relatives separated from her by water. “She was 82 years old. Kids as young as 9 rowed around Rama islands in a dugout,” Roksandic said.There are not too many ancient remnants of humans retrieved from tropical sites such as this one in Nicaragua. Even protected by the shell layer, the bones had evidently been affected by the environmental conditions of the region. All the more obstacles for scientists to scrutinize what they collected from the burial site.Monkey Point. Photo by SORIANONEARTH CC BY-SA 3.0Due to the Lower Central American climate, the soil in the area is highly acidic, making it prone to damage skeletal remains. But the chemistry of the shell mound reduced the soil acidity in favor of preservation.More finds of this nature will add to the narrative of the early Caribbean peoples — if only sites of archaeological and scientific interest remain safe and sound.Construction efforts at the nearby Monkey Point threaten to compromise such sites of archaeological importance. Development projects include the construction of a canal, Roksandic pointed out.Overall, “the project is estimated to destroy or alter nearly 1 million acres of rainforest and wetlands,” according to the Smithsonian. When completed the waterway will connect Nicaragua’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts.For now, the remains of the woman are accommodated at the CIDCA Historical Cultural Museum of the Caribbean Coast, in the city of Bluefields.Read another story from us: Roman-Era ‘Mega Villa’ Bigger than the Taj Mahal Discovered in EnglandMore questions remain open to further research. Like learning in greater detail the provenance of the woman who lived 6,000 years ago — what was her community like? Did she spend much of her time on a boat or were there other more important village activities that helped her build the muscles in her arms?Was seafood the single major food resource of her community 6,000 years ago?last_img read more

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The Original Story of Pinocchio is Too Scary for Children

first_imgAlready a strange tale, the earliest story of Pinocchio turns out to be even more delusional and fantastic than the well-known Disney rendition. Le avventure di Pinocchio was written by Carlo Collodi, an Italian author who had experience translating French fairy tales into his native language. He was invited to try his hand at original productions and found success with Pinocchio.Walt Disney version of PinocchioIts first publication was in 1881 in a children’s magazine Giornale per i bambini. Children’s literature was a new field in mass publication. Increasing literacy rates helped establish the new art form which was for the first time specifically aimed at young audiences.By this point, the Grimm brothers had already published over 200 fairy tales. It could be argued that Collodi was influenced by them, given the original turn of events in Pinocchio.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsPinocchio by Enrico Mazzanti (1852-1910) – the first illustrator (1883) of Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino, colored by Daniel DONNAUpon publication it first ran as a serial, featuring regularly in the Giornale over a four-month period. Collodi finished off the adventures of his magical, albeit impetuous, boy when Pinocchio is hanged for his misdeeds.Though such an abrupt and morbid end would scarcely be allowed in today’s young literature, this turn of events hardly hindered the story’s popularity.A giant statue of Pinocchio in the park Parco di Pinocchio. Photo by Collodi Adrian Michael CC BY 2.5Readers were obsessed and wanted more. Using the omnipotent power of fairy tales, Collodi revives Pinocchio through the magic of the Blue Fairy, and the wooden boy continues onto more mischievous and foolhardy adventures. Revival of the serial brought on twice as many episodes, rounding it all off in an ending comparable to that which Disney fans are familiar with.Related Video: Swing Wing Toy Commercial (1960s)Trouble from the beginning, the Pinocchio in the original Italian fairy tale is set up for failure. Rather than a loving man wishing for a son, Geppetto is the impoverished neighbor of a carpenter who donated a talking hunk of wood to him. Geppetto carves what was meant to be a new leg for the neighbor’s dining table. Perhaps that would have been better time spent. Pinocchio goes from adventure to adventure, gambling away money, being duped repetitively by the same conspiring duo, and failing to be the son Geppetto had always dreamed of.Pinocchio puppets in a puppet shop window in Florence. Photo by Vladimir Menkov CC BY-SA 3.0In fact, the reader first meets a talking cricket who’s lived in the puppeteer’s house for a century when he warns Pinocchio against being a bad boy. Unhappy with his words, Pinocchio throws a hammer at the cricket, killing it. There goes Jiminy’s storyline.The one detail changed that is potentially creepier and more obscene than the original story is the renaming of Collodi’s Toyland as Pleasure Island. In the original story, Pinocchio runs away with a friend he meets on the way to school to Toyland: a place where you never have to work.Pinocchio, by Carlo Chiostri (1901)They simply spend the next five months playing every day. In the film, the things the boys get up to are considerably more adult themed, and perhaps a 1940s way of teaching boys that gambling, smoking, and drinking are bad.The worst element that differs between the book and the film version is arguably the scene when Pinocchio and his friend begin to turn into donkeys because of their careless adventures in Toyland/Pleasure Island. What Disney doesn’t show you is that Collodi had Pinocchio turn fully into a donkey.Totò portrayed Pinocchio in Toto in ColorAs such, he is sold to a man who tries to kill the donkey by drowning him in the sea so that he can be skinned. However, fish eat the flesh of the donkey and Pinocchio escapes from the carcass as well as the evil man. Even if the story was aimed at adults, some might agree that the original Italian tale is not for sensitive audiences.Read another story from us: The true story of Pocahontas is sadder and less romantic than the enduring mythsDespite its dark nature, Le Avventure di Pinocchio has been translated into 300 languages as of 2018. It is the most translated secular book in the whole world.last_img read more

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Rare Manuscript Found Reveals Massive Lost World of 16th Century Books

first_imgHernando Colón (anglicized to Ferdinand Columbus) was born in 1488 to explorer Christopher Columbus, or Cristóbal Colón in Spanish, and his mistress Beatriz Enriquez de Arana. Although an out-of-wedlock child, Colón was recognized by his father. Like father like son, Colón also had a project which was larger than life. While Columbus was exploring the oceans and pursuing a quest to find the New World, his son was avidly trying to read every book he could lay hands on. In fact, he aimed “to create a universal library ‘containing all books, in all languages and on all subjects, that can be found both within Christendom and without’,” according to the Guardian.For his zealous effort, Colón even hired a fleet of scholars to go through the books he owned, asking them to produce quick summaries for what would be a ground-breaking 16-volume manuscript with cross-references to other items in the library collection. He would personally proofread and edit each of those summaries before submitting them to the manuscript.Hernando ColónThe manuscript was called Libro de los Epítomes (The Book of Epitomes) and has been compared to being a Middle Age search engine due to its extensive cross-referencing. In it, the knowledge of the books and other early print material collected by Colón was meticulously distilled and classified.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsFor centuries, The Book of Epitomes was considered lost, until it was recently identified as part of the Arnamagnæan Collection at the University of Copenhagen, the Guardian reports. The summaries fill over 2,000 pages and a great deal of them refer to books that have been entirely lost to history. For shorter volumes, the scribes added one-pagers; for books such as those of the great Greek philosophers more extensive abstracts taking up dozens of pages were added.Related Video: Mysterious Ancient Societies That DisappearedThe manuscript was, in fact, one of four means of navigating through Colón’s library. According to The Arnamagnæan Institute, Colón had “four types of inventories to keep track of his books,” included “a list of authors, a list of sciences (that is, subjects), a list of materials (that is, themes of keywords) and finally a list of epitomes.” Each of these “could be cross-referenced through numbers assigned to the books in each of the lists.”Colón tirelessly added to the book collection until his death in 1539. It’s estimated that the library comprised around 15,000 volumes; sadly, only a quarter of these are known to have survived. After his death, Colón’s collection was relocated to Seville Cathedral, where negligence led to the loss of much of the library.Cambridge-based scholar Dr. Edward Wilson-Lee, author of a recently published biography of Hernando Colón titled The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books, has said The Book of Epitomes is like a window into a “lost world of 16th century books,” reports the Guardian.Photo courtesy of Suzanne Reitz/Arnamagnæan Institute, University of Copenhagen“It’s a discovery of immense importance, not only because it contains so much information about how people read 500 years ago, but also, because it contains summaries of books that no longer exist, lost in every other form than these summaries,” he said.The collection in which The Book of Epitomes has now resurfaced is ascribed to Icelandic-Danish scholar and collector Árni Magnússon, who lived from 1663 until 1730.Upon his death, Magnússon gifted his personal book collection to the University of Copenhagen. The great majority of his 3,000 volumes donation is in Icelandic and other Nordic languages. Only about 20 items are in Spanish, including The Book of Epitomes, and the language barrier was likely a reason why hardly anyone paid attention to it over the last few centuries.Illustration from La Piteuse Complainte, from the works of Pierre Gringore, with handwritten note by Fernando ColónIn 2013, during a visit to the Arnamagnæan Institute, Guy Lazure, an Associate Professor at Canada’s University of Windsor and a researcher on Colón, was the first to point out the manuscript could be connected with Hernando Colón’s library. Following which, other scholars were contacted by the Danish-based institute to investigate and confirm the find.The information eventually reached Colón’s biographer, Wilson-Lee, and co-author María Pérez Fernández. In collaboration with the Arnamagnæan Institute, Wilson-Lee and Fernández are due to work on digitizing the long lost manuscript.It’s surprising that The Book of Epitomes reappeared in a country so far north, and how, in the first place, a copy of it came to be a possession of Árni Magnússon. One possibility is that it journeyed with a bunch of other manuscripts, from Seville to Copenhagen, through diplomatic channels.Signature of Ferdinand Columbus in a lease contract dated 1534, preserved at the Provincial Historical Archive of Seville, SpainBack in the 16th century, Spain was the wealthiest country on the planet and its prowess was reflected in undertakings such as the voyages of Christopher Columbus. In the same spirit of achieving greatness, his son wanted a library of the sort never seen before. A universal library that would function like “the brain” of the powerful Spanish empire.If Colón had someone to look up to for such an aspiration, it was definitely his explorer-father, who was confident enough to believe Spain would one day reign over the entire known world.Hernando Colón’s houseColón himself traveled a lot, sometimes even accompanying his father. He also authored one of the earliest biographies on Columbus. “Between 1509 and his death in 1539, Colón traveled all over Europe — in 1530 alone he visited Rome, Bologna, Modena, Parma, Turin, Milan, Venice, Padua, Innsbruck, Augsburg, Constance, Basle, Fribourg, Cologne, Maastricht, Antwerp, Paris, Poitiers and Burgos,” notes the Guardian.The purpose of his extensive traveling time was again to collect books and any other printed material, for example, tavern posters or news pamphlets. At the time, his mass of books was called Biblioteca Hernandina and it grew to be at least three times the size of other private library collections of the era.Colón also had some intriguing reading habits. On each book, he noted where and at what cost the copy was purchased — in what currency the exchange rate that day. He was also keen to note where he was reading the book and his thoughts as he moved through the pages. Colón also kept to strict protocols of organizing his collection of books, so the production of The Book of Epitomes should come as no surprise.Biblioteca Colombina, 1913At the time the biggest private library in Europe, today Biblioteca Hernandina is called Biblioteca Colombina. The collection has shrunk to as few as 4,000 titles. While it was stored at Seville Cathedral, some of the copies are said to have been stolen; others were damaged in incidents such as flooding.Read another story from us: The Ancient Cathedral Library Where all the Books are Chained to the ShelvesBeyond the loss of books, the remnants of Colon’s great project are here with us, and his character teaches a fantastic story about a man who was resolute to gather all the books out there. If not read them all, at least have a brief idea of what they were all about. Unknowingly, Colón was reinventing the very idea of knowledge.last_img read more

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WATCH Disoriented MMA fighter mistakenly choked out referee after getting KOd

first_imgBeing a ref is a thankless job. In MMA it’s dangerous, too.For one MMA ref in a lower tier match in Grand Rapids, Michigan, things got scary when he was choked out by a disoriented fighter who mistook him for his opponent after getting KO’d in the opening seconds of the match.The confused fighter was eventually pulled off the zebra, but not before he violently choked the hell out of him in his semi-conscious state. It’s not often you take two L’s in one match, but this guy managed to do it.Check out the crazy video:h/t starsandstrikesmmalast_img

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Three Steps to Creating a Killer Mobile Site

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. April 4, 2012 For many people, mobile devices, especially cell phones, are fast becoming the most popular route to the Internet. They want quick, easy access to information that will help them make decisions on the go — including whether or not to patronize your business.Unfortunately not every small-business website functions well on cell phones. Many fail to load quickly, prove hard to navigate and make key information difficult to find.To make your website more mobile friendly, consider these three steps, which put a priority on usefulness, speed and easy navigation.1. Test your site on a cellular network.Turn off your cell phone’s Wi-Fi connection so you’re using your wireless carrier’s data network. Then, launch your web browser and type in your business site’s URL.Now, start counting. If it takes five seconds or less to fully load your home page, that’s pretty good. If it’s 10 seconds or more, there’s significant room for improvement.If your site first displays a decorative splash page, video or a large image, it isn’t mobile friendly. These items take extra time to load and get in the way of useful information. Also, if your home page features Flash animation, it won’t display at all in many mobile browsers, and your site might appear to say nothing at all.Related: Four Low-Cost Ways to Turbo-Charge Your WebsiteIf your phone simply displays a miniature version of your complete website, that means mobile users must pinch, zoom and scroll to see what’s there. That’s more work, plus they’re more likely to accidentally click the wrong link or button. Your business’s most basic and vital information — such as address, hours and phone number — should be immediately visible when your site loads on a mobile device.To get the most comprehensive results, repeat this exercise on several types of mobile phones. Consider asking your friends to access your site on their phones while you watch. Observe but don’t coach them on where to scroll or click.2. Start with easy improvements.Depending on the results of your tests, your site may need a major overhaul or just some tweaks. If a redesign seems necessary but is more than you can manage at the moment, you can start with a quick and easy fix.If it isn’t already there, put the following information at the top of your site’s home page:Business nameBrief description, such as “tax accountants,” “auto repair” or “fine French dining”Street addressHours of operationPhone numbers for inquiries or reservationsEmail addressLink to the mobile version of your site (I’ll explain this later)This information should appear above any background or banner graphics so it loads first. After all, this is what most mobile visitors want to know.Related: Step-by-Step Through a Website MakeoverThere are several advantages to displaying this information as plain text rather than including it in an image. In most mobile web browsers, simply clicking a phone number starts the call. Similarly, clicking a street address launches the phone’s mapping app, and clicking an email address opens the mobile email app. If you make it this easy for mobile users, they’re much more likely to do business with you.3. Build a user-friendly mobile version of your site.Creating a mobile version of your site can be fairly straightforward. If you built your site with tools that offer a mobile theme layout, then you simply need to select a theme and apply it to your site. WordPress, one of the most popular site-building tools, has many free and inexpensive mobile themes.You also can build a separate mobile site. There are many inexpensive services that nontechnical people can use, including Mofuse.com and Landr.co. Both let you create and publish a basic mobile site for less than $10 a month.Related: Is Your Website Lost in Translation?Mobile sites have a slightly different web address than the full site. The mobile version usually starts with “m.” before your regular web address, or ends with the suffix “.mobi” rather than “.com.” If a mobile user types in your regular URL or follows a link to your site from a search engine, the mobile version should load automatically.But that doesn’t always happen on every phone. Include at the top of your website a link to your mobile site, and vice versa, just in case.If you follow these three steps, not only will your business be more attractive and useful to mobile visitors, but you also may become more visible in mobile search results.  Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 4 min read Register Now »last_img read more

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How to Get Your eCommerce Site Optimized for the Holiday Season

first_imgNovember 27, 2013 13 min read This story originally appeared on KISSmetrics It’s that time of year again. The temperatures are cold, the sun sets at 5, and money will start flying around in a few weeks. The holiday season means consumers open their wallets, and that creates big opportunities for businesses and charities. Indeed, during the holiday season, consumer spending reaches one of the highest points of the year.Amazon is preparing for the holiday season in a big way, hiring 70,000 temporary workers to help them fill the expected demand. Physical retail stores will be opening earlier on Thanksgiving than in past years, and some will be open all day.But this blog post will not focus on what other businesses are doing. We’re going to focus on your business. If you run an e-commerce site, you’re probably gearing up for the holiday season and looking to maximize your sales. If you’re looking for what to prioritize and what makes online shoppers tick, you’ve come to the right place.By the end of this blog post, you will have learned just how crucial the cost of shipping is to an e-commerce site and its customers. You will know that shipping can be a “tipping point” for your business.You also will understand that you can either repel users from your site or attract them by giving them an incentive to buy. And you will realize there are some tactics you can use to grow your email newsletter base while simultaneously helping to grow your business.This blog post is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the data around holiday shopping. The second is about how to promote your e-commerce store. And, in the third, we’ll touch on mobile.By the way, this post isn’t just for the holiday season. You’ll find useful data in here whether you’re in the thick of holiday shopping or just looking to optimize your e-commerce store. Clearly, it’s a good time to be an e-commerce store.The Data around Holiday E-commerce ShoppingIt’s Growing and People are Expecting to Spend More Money with Online RetailersFor the past few years, e-commerce’s share of total holiday spending has grown by about 15%. In 2013, it’s estimated that e-commerce sales will reach about $61.8 billion in holiday spending.Seventy-one percent of consumers are expecting to spend more (or the same) during the 2013 holiday season. This is the highest it has been in seven years, when it was also 71%. And for the first time, the Internet ranks as #1 on the list of venues where consumers are expected to shop, with 47% saying they’ll shop on e-commerce sites (including auction sites).Discount/Value department stores are down 7% from last year, with 44% saying they’ll include discount/value department stores on their list. And among those that are shopping online, 38% say they will spend the majority of their budget online:And if you’re expecting a big Cyber Monday, you’re probably correct. The 2012 Cyber Monday was the biggest one yet, with $1.465 billion in sales. Spending on Black Friday 2012 was high as well, reaching $1.042 billion. According to comScore, this means e-commerce spending for November 1-26, 2012 totaled $16.378 billion:According to Nielsen, nearly 50% of consumers say they will shop online this Cyber Monday, which is a 16% increase over 2012. Online Black Friday spending is also on the rise, with 51% saying they’ll do their Black Friday shopping online.The Top Gifts in 2013 – According to Nielsen, these categories are expected to be the biggest sellers in 2013: Gift Cards Tech Products Toys Food Apparel Video Games Cookware Sporting Goods Jewelry Alcoholic BeveragesThe Budget of Americans – Data from Nielsen shows that 30% of consumers across all income ranges will spend between $250 and $500 this season; 20% say they’ll spend between $500 and $1000; and 6% will spend more than $1000.Consumers Planning on Spending More This Year – We’ve mentioned before that consumers are planning on spending more this holiday season. Data from Deloitte tells us that 71% of consumers are expecting to spend more or the same amount this holiday season.Nielsen data tells a slightly more modest picture, with 17% saying they’ll increase their spending this season (most of them make over $100k annually). Breaking it down further, 15% of those make $50k or less annually. Additionally, those households that make $50k or less plan to spend more at dollar stores this year.So here’s what we know: Holiday shopping is on the rise and is expected to reach new heights this year.How to Promote Your E-commerce StoreThere’s an estimated 500,000 e-commerce stores in the United States. Each day they compete for the pockets of consumers. How is your store going to stand out? This is what marketers struggle with every day: the challenge of getting their name out and then crossing their fingers, hoping that some kind person will give their business money.I hope to provide you with some simple hacks you can use to help increase your chances of earning a customer. But before we get into that, we first need to delve into the data and facts about why it’s so critical for e-commerce sites to offer free shipping.The Data around Free Shipping – There is a lot of data around this, so I’m going to break down each point into its own section to help you sort it all out.Data Point #1A survey from Deloitte asked consumers what factors would lead them to shop online. The factors were ranked on a scale from “More Likely to Lead to Online Shopping” to “No Difference” to “More Likely to Lead to In-Store Shopping.”The biggest factor, it turns out, was a store having free shipping. Here are the rankings: Free Shipping (66%) Ease of Shopping (57%) Wide Merchandise Selection (52%) Speed of Shopping or Checkout (51%) Low Prices (51%)It’s quite telling when people rank “Free Shipping” as being more important (by a wide margin) than “Low Prices.”Data Point #2When consumers are asked what area e-commerce sites can improve, the number one answer is shipping:Data Point #3In the same study, shoppers were asked what specials or discounts would bring them back to a retailer. Their first and second preferences were both related to reducing shipping costs.Data Point #4In another study, Free Shipping Day (December 17, 2012) proved to be a big hit for retailers and consumers. Online shopping reached sales of $1.013 billion on December 17, 2012, which was 76% higher than the previous year.Data Point #5Sixty-eight percent of consumers say they would recommend a website that has free shipping. And 65% say they already have recommended a site because of free shipping. That’s pretty powerful.Data Point #6A Google survey found that if a site didn’t offer free shipping, 47% would find the item on a site that did, 32.2% would go to a nearby store that offered the product, and 20.2% would buy the product and pay for the shipping.Data Point #7Here are the results of another survey done by Google:You can even run your own test. Ask someone why they don’t buy the majority of their products online, and they’ll usually give a couple of reasons. They’re usually:“I don’t want to pay for shipping.”or“I want my items right away.”While the latter isn’t fixed yet, you can make up for it by offering lower prices. People will likely have a little patience if it means they save some money.Clearly, offering free shipping can give you a big advantage, not only over other e-commerce competitors, but also over physical retail stores.Use Shipping to Your Advantage – We’ve now seen the data that says offering free shipping can give you a big advantage. So we are safe to assume that free shipping is the best option for customers.But if you sell smaller items, you cannot offer free shipping on every product. If, for example, you sell a magnet for $3.50, your shipping costs will be at least $2, so your profit margins are minimal or even negative. Do this over and over, and you’ll be out of business. This is why many e-commerce businesses require a minimum order of $25 so the free shipping costs are justified.I can’t tell you if it’s best for your business to offer free shipping on every item or if it’s best to set a minimum order price. What I can do is give you a few ideas to promote your free shipping. Here are a few:Make it a Selling Point – E-commerce retailers now advertise their free shipping:It’s become common practice for sites to highlight it on their website:The bottom line is that consumers need to know what your shipping policy is. I’d recommend placing it as a banner on your website and in your shopping cart. Prospective customers need to know what your shipping costs are before they enter checkout.To optimize conversions, it may be best to leave a note in the shopping cart saying “Spend $xx more and get free shipping!” Data shows that 70% of shoppers have added items to their carts in order to qualify for free shipping.But with all of these websites already offering minimal to free shipping, how are you going to compete with them?Tips for the holiday season: There will certainly be last minute shoppers, and the data is out there to prove it. Knowing this, it’s important to offer overnight shipping and a guaranteed delivery date. Considering how important discounted or free shipping is to consumers, it’s a good idea to make your shipping pricing (or lack thereof) very clear. In addition, you may want to offer free shipping if you don’t already. Offer to gift wrap items. Perhaps low cost gift wrapping in addition to low cost or free shipping would lead a shopper to pick your store over another.Discounts – I’m typically not in favor of discounts. I believe they act as a distraction from the product. And overkill on discounting can lead people to tune you out.But every holiday season many consumers come to expect it by the time Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around. So let’s get into how you can optimize the promotion of your discounts.Vitamin Shoppe has a proposal: sign up for their email newsletter and they’ll give you 10% off.This appears to be a good idea because there is data showing that a lot (83.5% to be exact) of consumers have signed up for an email newsletter so they could get discounts.And as for email, 45.4% of consumers report that they are more likely to open and read an email if the subject line mentions a discount or special offer.During the holidays, people may be more selective and shop with stores offering discounts. Feel free to use this as a small part of your marketing strategy. I would use discounts sparingly and keep them few and far between.People should know when you are running discounts and view it as a “special occasion.” When seldom used and correctly executed, discounts can have good results. And now you know that you can pair your email marketing and discounts together for a more synergistic force.Tips for the holiday season: Try giving away a few freebies and measure the reaction. Studies showconsumers value freebies more than discounts. During the holidays, consumers are looking for discounts, with most looking for 40-50% off. Factor this into your decision on whether you discount or don’t. 81% of consumers report that they rely on discounts during the holiday season. Since consumers are shopping early, it’s best to get these discounts out soon.MobileeMarketer is forecasting that mobile commerce will reach 16% this year. You can bet many shoppers will find and browse your e-commerce store on their phones or another mobile device. We all know that his fraction will only grow, so it’s important to get your e-commerce site ready for mobile holiday shoppers. Let’s run through a few scenarios where consumers will check your store while on the go: While in a physical retail store, a consumer could load up their phone and check your price to compare. When they want to check to see if you offer a product. When they want to check to see how quickly you can ship a product.Of course, these are just generalities. Each use case is different. What’s important is to build your mobile app or mobile site around the needs of visitors.If we go with the three use cases mentioned above, we can probably figure these factors are important in our mobile site: Make the search box prominent so people can easily find the product they are looking for. Ensure visitors know what their shipping options are, including any specials, discounts, carriers offered, and the range of speed offered. This cannot be ignored. If a visitor doesn’t know, they’ll quickly give up and go with someone else.This is a lot easier said than done. And if your visitors have a great mobile experience, the payoff can be big. A report from Skava shows that 88% of those that shop on mobile phones have a negative experience. The top complaints of mobile shoppers were as follows:For the visitors that were frustrated with a mobile shopping experience, 29% will wait a year before returning, 30% plan to never return again, and 43% immediately defect to a competitor.Tips for the holiday season: Optimize for mobile. ProFlowers boosted their conversions on mobile by cleaning their design, removing checkout steps, and making adjustments to ensure faster loading. 48% of consumers use a search engine as a starting point in their mobile research. Tailor your ads to the consumers and some keywords they may use when shopping on mobile. 84% of consumers use their mobile devices while shopping in a store. Of those, 53% use their mobile devices to make price comparisons. The most common categories are appliances (74%), electronics (70%), baby care (62%), household care (58%), pet care (51%), health and beauty (46%), apparel (44%), and grocery (36%). In addition, 82% of shoppers use search engines when browsing product info in a store. Finally, 65% of in-store mobile shoppers prefer mobile sites over the 35% who prefer apps. Knowing this, it’s important to make priorities for your mobile site. Every product page should have a brief product synopsis, pricing, images, and shipping options. Keep it simple and stick to the basics. Final Words…..What would you, as a consumer, like to see from e-commerce stores? What makes you buy from one e-commerce site and not another?Also check out a recent webinar we did where KISSmetrics’ Director of Marketing Dan McGaw presents 5 Ways to Increase Revenue For The Holidays.center_img Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globallast_img read more

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